2020 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize

 The Beast Player, by Japan’s Nahoko Uehashi (translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano; Henry Holt & Co.) and Maresi Red Mantle, by Finland’s Maria Turtschaninoff (translated from the Swedish by A. A. Prime; Pushkin Press/Abrams Books) are co-winners of the 2020 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize.

Administered by the Global Literatures in Libraries Initiative, the two-year-old prize recognizes publishers, translators, and authors of books in English translation for young adult (YA) readers. 

The winning books were selected from a field of titles translated from 13 languages and representing 19 countries, from Iceland to India. Works published within three years of the submission deadline were considered. 

The prize is was announced on International Children’s Book Day, which falls on April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. Fewer young adult (YA) books are translated into English than any other category of children’s literature, and the prize aims to bring attention to gems of world literature for teens. 

“The worldwide spread of the Covid-19 pandemic shows just how interconnected we have become,” said GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds, “There couldn’t be a better time for teens to develop a global perspective on issues of concern to them, and reading is a great way to do that, especially when everyone is spending so much time indoors right now.” 

The committee also selected two honor books:

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) – Norway 

Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel, translated from the French by Nanette McGuinness (Life Drawn) – France 

Members of the prize committee include Annette Y. Goldsmith, chair and international youth literature specialist; Abigail Hsu, Morristown & Morris Township Library; David Jacobson, author and translator; Lynn E. Palermo, Susquehanna University; Kim Rostan, Wofford College; Elaine Tai, Burlingame Public Library; and Bobbie Xuereb, MiraCosta College. They were assisted by GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds. 

A relatively new award, and I’m hoping it will spark energy and interest in translations including those from greatly underrepresented regions of the world.

Thanks to David Jacobson for sending this news.

New Translated YA Book Prize winners

Thank you to David Jacobson for letting me know about these books, newly recognized by the Global Literatures in Libraries Initiative.

Here is the announcement from the GLLI press release: 

My Brother’s Husband: Vol. 1 & 2, by Japan’s Gengoroh Tagame (translated from the Japanese by Anne Ishii; Pantheon Books) is the winner of the inaugural GLLI Translated YA Book Prize. Administered by the Global Literatures in Libraries Initiative, it is the first prize to recognize publishers, translators, and authors of books in English translation for young adult readers.

mybrothershusbandUnknown.jpegMy Brother’s Husband is a two-volume manga that gently but effectively guts homophobia in Japanese society. When Mike, the Canadian husband of Yaichi’s late brother shows up on his doorstep, Yaichi is courteous but standoffish, while his young daughter Kana is thrilled to meet her gay uncle.

“The committee loved this sweet, nuanced story of coming to terms with one’s own prejudices and embracing a truly modern family,” said committee member Annette Y. Goldsmith.

Books in translation have received greater attention in recent years, thanks in part to the National Book Foundation’s new prize for translated literature, but they still amount to a paltry three percent of all books published.

“Books in translation for young adults remain a tiny fraction of even those in translation,” said GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds, “There is an urgent need for greater international understanding and cross-cultural empathy among our young people. Reading books can help bridge those gaps.”

Three honor books were also selected. They include: La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel (Feminist Press) – EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais, translated from the French by the author (Pushkin Children’s Books) – FRANCE

Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam, translated from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg (Flatiron Books) – SWEDEN

The winning books were selected from a field of titles translated from 13 languages and representing 13 countries, as far afield as Equatorial Guinea, Bangladesh and Norway. Works published within three years of the submission deadline were considered. The prize will be presented at the American Library Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., June 20-25, 2019.

Members of the prize committee include Annette Y. Goldsmith, international youth literature specialist; Gene Hayworth, University of Colorado; Kim Rostan, Wofford College; Laura Simeon, Kirkus Reviews; and Elaine Tai, Burlingame Public Library. They were assisted by GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds.

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative brings together translators, librarians, teachers,editors and others dedicated to helping librarians identify and raise the visibility of world literature for children, teens, and adults. Our activities include creating pan-publisher catalogs; maintaining a database of translations; sharing ideas for selecting, evaluating, using and promoting world literature for all ages; and administering the GLLI Translated YA Book Prize.

Hurray for these books without borders and for the publishers who have now brought them to new readers and markets.